3 March, 2020

Barefoot Cast talk love, romance… and being spontaneous!

Ahead of the first Spring production opening at Pitlochry Festival Theatre next week, 12 March, 7pm, stars of the show took time out to answer quick questions around the themes in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park: “What’s your most romantic memory?”, “Do opposites attract?” and, “What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?”

Clare Grogan, star of much-loved movie Gregory’s Girl, Red Dwarf, and currently on our TVs in Corner Shop Cook Off, and of course, lead singer of iconic Scottish Band, Altered Images - currently combining a tour with Barefoot rehearsals - told us, “Probably the most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done is come to Pitlochry Festival Theatre after one phone call with the incredible Elizabeth Newman, and I’m not just saying that ‘cause I’m here and she’s my boss!”

“The most romantic thing I’ve ever done? The list would be endless… I’m a romantic fool. But my favourite is having a loved one paged at an airport, station… wherever they happen to be leaving from.”

Hamish Clark, known for much-loved character, Duncan McKay, Glenbogle resident for seven years in the hugely successful Monarch of the Glen, as well as extensive stage appearances from the Old Vic to Edinburgh Fringe, recalled his particular romantic episode, “l once bought my girlfriend leather trousers; they were really cool, but not really my girlfriend’s thing at all, so she didn’t wear them. Fast forward a couple of years, and l was coming back from a hard trip abroad. It was rainy and miserable, and there to meet me at the airport was my girlfriend and our dog - a welcoming committee, both with huge grins - in leather trousers and a tartan tie respectively. My girlfriend couldn’t keep a straight face, but our dog was SO proud of the new look!

Karis Jack - playing the singing delivery woman, Audrey Blake, joins the cast from the West End’s Les Misérables as well as Motown, and Hairspray, and brings an irresistible 60s soundtrack to the show – revealed her romantic marriage proposal. My fiancé planned a surprise trip for my birthday to Dubai, showered me with daily poems and gifts, and then proposed on my birthday. I said YES. It was the most magical and romantic vacation.”

Marc Small, whom Pitlochry visitors will remember from the much-acclaimed 2019 Season productions, North and South, The Crucible and Heritage, told us, “Opposites definitely attract. People having qualities you don’t possess are easily admired. They can be exciting because they think differently to you, and those with contrasting idiosyncrasies help balance out your own. So opposites definitely attract……I mean they don’t get on, but they attract.”

The central couple, Corie and Paul - famously played by Jane Fonda and Robert Redford, in the 60s movie - are played at Pitlochry by Jessica Hardwick (CATS Award-nominated for Roxane in Cyrano De Bergerac; CATS Award-winning performance in Knives In Hens; Prudencia Hart in David Greig’s phenomenally successful, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart) joined in matrimony on stage to Olivier Huband, (London production of Ibsen’s, An Enemy of the People, screen roles in the sixth in the Mission: Impossible movie series, Fallout and new Sky Atlantic series I Hate Suzie, with Billie Piper).

Corie is a passionate, free spirit and Paul is a straight-laced, ambitious attorney, so Jessica and Olivier are playing total ‘opposites’. So, do they think opposites attract?

Jessica considered, “Yes, I think at first they definitely can - especially in the heat of the moment - but I'm not sure they always last.” And Olivier agreed, “I do think opposites attract, but I believe that the reason they attract is because they have something in common pulling them together. That common denominator, however big or small, is the fuse that sparks the attraction.”

This is the first co-production between Pitlochry Festival Theatre, and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh. Artistic Director at Pitlochry, and Director for Barefoot in the Park, Elizabeth Newman explained, “The starting point was our joint desire to offer audiences the chance to celebrate the good things in life… With everything that is happening in our real world, we felt to bring a little joy, laughter and happiness to people would be a very good thing to do.”

David Greig said: “Marriage tends to take a bit of a beating in the theatre,… but Barefoot in The Park is one of those rare plays which looks at marriage and finds not murder or despair, nor ennui and alcoholism, but hope and love.”

 And Elizabeth’s most romantic memory? “I’m a proper romantic so I’ve done lots of romantic things. Embarrassingly so, probably! The first romantic thing anyone ever did for me was my first boyfriend. He arranged for us to go the ice rink at Somerset House in London when there was no one else there… so we could go ice skating alone. It was beautiful. And it was very something.”

If you’d like a little romance and comedy right now, the vibrancy and joy of Barefoot in the Park is everything you need! Call the Box Office team on 01796 484626 or click here to buy online

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